ENERGY’s Starting Lineup Series is a forum for the SMEs at ENERGY to share their thoughts, experiences, and expertise on all things transportation and logistics.
I’m the type of person who always wants to say yes. Sometimes it’s to my detriment, and sometimes it’s followed with an asterisk, but I want to be the first and last person my customer contacts.
But simply saying yes to every customer request isn’t always the best option for anyone.
Sometimes you need to say yes to the request your customer isn’t asking for to deliver the solution they really need.
Sure, a last-minute “HOT J.I.T.” load bails out a production schedule gone wrong or recovers a shipment left on the dock, but is that sustainable in the long term? Is it respecting your team? And is it providing the best service to your customer?
Give what they ask for but deliver what they need
To always say yes, you need a great team behind you. I’m grateful to the team here at ENERGY for always stepping up to the plate and helping me get the job done. But sometimes, saying yes to every customer request isn’t giving them what they need or respecting the team behind you.
For example, I had a customer recently who would book ahead of time — which is always appreciated — and we would secure their shipments at preferred, year-long, dedicated rates.
The problem was that the customer often reached out for a last-minute load, going to a different destination.
For four weeks in a row, I’d get a request on Friday at 11 am to move four to eight shipments over the weekend. All these shipments would require drop trailers at the receiver, which can be tough to coordinate on such short notice.
My team and I would try our best to meet their requirements, but the 11th-hour nature of these requests meant we weren’t always using our preferred carriers, and the rates would be higher than usual. So, when I would get these urgent calls for last-minute loads, I would silently repeat my mantra of always saying yes, but after four to five weeks of this, it was becoming unmanageable.
We were taking a loss, but it was a new customer, and we were still earning our stripes. We needed a solution where I could keep saying yes to the shipper and provide the best rates with preferred carriers.
We began anticipating our customers’ last-minute requests and purchased the capacity they needed in advance. This allows us to protect our margins and accept them at our contractual rate — saving the customer 14-16% on surcharges.
ENERGY is now first on their carrier list because of our ability to always say yes to these requests.
The result is a happier customer who avoids excess freight spend and all the headaches from last-minute shipping while ensuring everything moves on our preferred carriers.
If you want to work with a shipper as committed to your production schedule as you are, with 24/7 support, contact me. We offer assets, dry and refrigerated transport, 300K sq ft of warehousing, and robust drop trailer programs for over-the-road and intermodal freight.